I used to work with a woman that would quote freight rates for Customers, for what seemed to me, absolutely free!! I used to get so mad at her, I’d swear, piss and moan, act like a child, then I would post the loads on the load boards and they would get moved for a profit, which would piss me off even more because I was so sure we couldn’t move them for the rates she was quoting, I always thought we could get these from the Customer for more money and have that cushion we needed just in case. The biggest reason I would get so mad was because I hate being wrong. What I learned was when you get so complacent as to think your way is the only way or you think you know everything, you will soon go broke!!! She was obviously wearing her Rose colored glasses, or was she just confidant in our abilities to move the freight and knew the market well enough to know it was possible. I think it was a combination of all of these things put together. Her opinion was that it’s a new customer and we needed the freight. My opinion was that if we take the loads now for such a discounted rate we would be locked in at that rate for the unforeseeable future and sooner or later, our luck would run out. Who’s right here??
I had mentioned in a previous post that all customers you will ever get, use more than one brokerage to move there freight, just like any other free market, they want choices, if you were the only one moving freight for your Customer you could charge whatever you wanted right? The smart Customers take advantage of the free market and have a list of Brokers built up in there database so whenever they have a load to move an e-mail goes out and all these brokers are blind copied in the e-mail. The Customer then takes the best rate from the responses that come in and the loads get moved. This isn’t the greatest of outcomes for us as we have to fight with everyone else for loads. What I have found with these Customers is they really have a lot of freight to move and it’s usually fairly cheap. That being said, when you’re hungry and waiting for that million dollar Customer to call, this will keep you busy and it will also give you experience in moving freight. Let’s call these types of Customers, “The free market Customers”.
When you start calling on Customers, you’re going to run into these types of Customers and in short order you will give them your e-mail in an effort to start getting e-mails for freight opportunities. Now it’s time to put on those Rose Colored Glasses to get on the boards with your new Customer. You job here is start making calls to carriers on the new freight that’s coming your way. After a while you will realize that usually the same lanes(Chicago, IL to Davenport, IA….etc.) keep coming up, in fact, you saw this lane 3 times last month. Last month you had found a carrier but the load was gone already but the carrier had mentioned he was in Chicago 4 times a week and is always looking to go home (Davenport, IA). The next time the customer sends this load out, your first call is to your IA carrier, you agree on a rate; add a very small margin ($50) and you have now just moved your first load with this Customer, clear as mud right? This is just an idea on how it starts with these types of customers, you don’t want all the freight right away, your first objective is to get your feet wet, get to know the lanes, get to know the Customer, remember, the more they hear your name come up, the more comfortable they become with you, the more opportunities will come to you, I guarantee it.
As you learn this business and make your mistakes like we all do, you will get better knowing what your customers expect, what the carriers need to survive, and what the market will bear. Your optimism will rise and your Rose Colored Glasses will be nothing more than your expertise in the freight business coming thru. Let me know if you like this post or have any questions. I’m always here.